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Table of Content
    Volume 40 Issue 10
    10 October 2016

    Qinghai Lake and alpine grassland landscape of its surrounds (Photographed by LI Qi). Li et al. studied effects of nitrogen and phosphorus additions on plant community biomass in the natural alpine grassland and the restored grasslands around Qinghai Lake Basin (Pages 1015–1027 of this issue).

    Research Articles
    Spectral feature differences between shrub and grass communities and shrub coverage retri- eval in shrub-encroached grassland in Xianghuang Banner, Nei Mongol, China
    Tao-Yu LIU, Xia ZHAO, Hai-Hua SHEN, Hui-Feng HU, Wen-Jiang HUANG, Jing-Yun FANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  969-979.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0101
    Abstract ( 632 )   HTML ( 31 )   PDF (703KB) ( 767 )   Save
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    Aims Shrub-encroached grassland has become an important vegetation type in China’s arid and semi-arid region. Our study objective is to explore the spectral features of shrub and grass communities, as well as their empirical relationships with shrub coverage. The quantitative estimation of shrub cover based on medium-resolution Landsat satellite imagery provides the practical basis for long term retrieval of large areas of shrub expansion in the grassland region. Methods Linear models and Multiple Endmember Spectral Analysis Model (MESMA) based on medium resolution Landsat satellite imagery were developed to quantify the shrub coverage in a shrub-encroached grassland region in Xianghuang Banner, Nei Mongol using the spectral features and their seasonal differences between the shrub and grass communities. Important findings Compared to Leymus chinensis and Stipa krylovii dominated grass communities, Caragana microphylla community had a higher normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), modified red edge normalized difference vegetation index (mNDVI705), and red edge slope. The red edge position of C. microphylla community shifted to longer wavelengths. The average and the maximum shrub coverage was 13% and 25%, respectively, in the shrub-encroached grassland based on both models. The correlation coefficient of determination (R2) and root mean square error (RMSE) of the linear model was 0.31 and 0.05, respectively. We found that the linear model based on seasonal differences of shrub and grass community was more suitable for retrieving shrub coverage in the study area from medium resolution imagery than the MESMA model that is based on mid-summer images.

    Influence of nitrogen addition on the primary production in Nei Mongol degraded grassland
    Jing WANG, Shan-Shan WANG, Xian-Guo QIAO, Ang LI, Jian-Guo XUE, Muqier HASI, Xue-Yao ZHANG, Jian-Hui HUANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  980-990.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0141
    Abstract ( 379 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (3390KB) ( 764 )   Save
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    Aims Irrational utilization and global climate change have caused degradation of grassland ecosystems in northern China with low soil fertility, decreased vegetation coverage and productivity. Nitrogen addition has been suggested an effective way to enhance restoration of those degraded grasslands. In this study, we selected a typical steppe with three different degrading levels, including lightly, moderately and heavily degraded communities, in East Ujimqin, Nei Mongol. Our objectives of this study are to examine if and how nitrogen (N) addition can enhance restoration of those degraded grasslands Methods Treatments with four levels of N addition (0, 5.0, 10.0 and 20.0 g N·m-2·a-1) were conducted to each of the three degraded communities from 2014 to 2015. Nitrogen was applied as urea in June of both years. Aboveground biomass was collected at the species level in 1 m × 1 m plot in August each year, all species biomass was summed as net primary production, and biomass of plant functional groups was calculated by perennial rhizome grasses, perennial bunchgrasses, perennial forbs, shrubs and semi-shrubs, annuals and biennials.Important findings Our results showed that the high (20.0 g N·m-2·a-1) and medium level N addition (10.0 g N·m-2·a-1) significantly increased the aboveground biomass of the slightly degraded community by 53.1% and 51.6% compared with no N addition. N addition had no significant effects on the moderately and heavily degraded communities. N addition with high and medium levels increased aboveground biomass of perennial rhizome grasses by 45.1% and 47.7%, but decreased that of perennial forbs by 37.4% and 42.1% at the slightly degraded community. Our results indicated that N addition could increase the growth of perennial rhizome grasses, and the growth of perennial forbs was suppressed consequently. Our results suggest that even the application of N fertilizers can only be helpful to restoration of those slightly degraded grasslands. Besides, N addition had no significant effects on species richness in different degraded communities indicating the fact that the study may not last long enough. For the purpose of increasing aboveground biomass of degraded grassland, we should not only consider the type and quantity of fertilization, but also the attribute of the degraded communities. In addition, the response of degraded community in biomass may strongly be impacted by degrading level of studied grassland.

    Relationships between soil nutrients and plant functional traits in different degradation stages of Leymus chinensis steppe in Nei Mongol, China
    Dan LI, Saruul KANG, Meng-Ying ZHAO, Qing ZHANG, Hai-Juan REN, Jing REN, Jun-Mei ZHOU, Zhen WANG, Ren-Ji WU, Jian-Ming NIU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  991-1002.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0465
    Abstract ( 493 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (716KB) ( 801 )   Save
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    Aims Understanding ecological implications of plant functional traits is helpful in exploring community assembly under different environments of nature and human disturbances, and then to reveal the maintenance mechanism of the ecosystem services. By analyzing vegetation and soil data derived from field observations in Leymus chinensis steppe of Xilin River Basin in Nei Mongol, we aimed to explore the responses of plant functional traits to changing soil nutrients at different degradation stages. Methods We observed 69 plots for both plant community structure and soil attributes using quadrat and soil-drilling methods. Five plant functional traits, namely the specific leaf area (SLA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), leaf carbon to nitrogen ratio (C:N), leaf lignin content (LLC), and maximum height (MH), were measured for each plot. We also tested soil attributes, such as total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), available nitrogen (AN), available phosphorus (AP), and organic carbon (OC). The sixty-nine communities were classified into four groups (undegraded L. chinensis + forbs, slightly degraded L. chinensis + Stipa sp., moderately degraded L. chinensis + Cleistogenes squarrosa, and heavily degraded L. chinensis + Artemisia frigida) using TWINSPAN software. The relationships between plant functional traits and soil nutrient variables were analyzed for the four community groups using the Pearson’s correlation test with SPSS 21.0 software. Important findings (1) The soil nutrients decreased with the grassland degradation process and there were significant differences in TN and TP between the undegraded L. chinensis + forbs and heavily degraded L. chinensis + A. frigida communities; (2) plant functional traits also showed strong differences between the degradation stages. MH and C:N decreased with degradation. A significant difference was observed in MH between the undegraded L. chinensis + forbs and slightly degraded L. chinensis + Stipa sp. communities. The difference in C:N was also significant between the undegraded L. chinensis + forbs and heavily degraded L. chinensis + A. frigida communities; (3) the effects of soil nutrients on plant functional traits changed with grassland degradation. AN was negatively correlated with MH, LLC, and C:N in the slightly degraded L. chinensis + Stipa sp. community. In the moderately degraded L. chinensis + C. squarrosa community, those three traits mentioned above showed significantly positive correlations with TP; (4) while analyzing the degraded grassland, different relationships between plant functional traits were found. In the slightly degraded L. chinensis + Stipa sp. community, LLC was positively correlated with all other traits. Moreover, positive correlations also occurred between C:N and MH, C:N and LDMC, and C:N and LLC. In the heavily degraded L. chinensis + A. frigida community, all traits demonstrated the most significantly positive correlations.

    Effects of grazing intensity on windblown sediment mass flux and particle size distribution in the desert steppe of Nei Mongol, China
    Yong-Qiang LI, Zhi-Guo LI, Zhi DONG, Zhong-Wu WANG, Zhi-Qiang QU, Guo-Dong HAN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1003-1014.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0045
    Abstract ( 395 )   HTML ( 15 )   PDF (991KB) ( 603 )   Save
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    Aims Grazing activities degrade soil aggregates, reduce vegetation coverage and affect the amount of deposited material, and make the land more vulnerable to wind erosion. Although livestock increase was considered as the main issue leading to the degradation, only very few studies have quantitatively investigated the relationship between grazing and soil erosion. The relationship between different stocking rates and sediment flux, and sediment soil particle was studied to reveal the mechanism of different grazing intensities on soil erosion process, to provide basic parameters for grazing optimization in the Stipa breviflora desert steppe. Methods In the Stipa breviflora desert steppe research area, BSNE collecting sand boxes were set in the randomly distributed paddock experiment sites for 11 year with different grazing intensities (0.15、0.30、0.45、0 sheep·hm-2·month-1, corresponding to light grazing LG, moderate grazing MG, heavy grazing HG and control CK, respectively). The quantitative relationship between grazing intensity and sediment flux, and the characteristics of sediment soil particle were conducted in four sampling periods through 2 years (April 2013 to April 2015).Important findings (1) Grazing intensity had a significant effect on the sediment flux (p< 0.05), and the sediment flux increased with the increase of grazing intensity. The response of sediment flux to grazing intensity was variable with season. The daily average sediment flux (13.12 g·m-1·d-1) during the period of April to October was smaller than that from October to April (18.74 g·m-1·d-1). The sediment flux difference of different grazing intensities was greater from April to October, with the 5 times daily average sand flux in the heavy grazing paddock that in the control. The average sediment flux difference of different grazing intensities was small from October to April. (2) The relationship between the natural logarithm of sediment flux at different height and the vertical height had a better binomial fitting from April to October, and there was no obvious regular pattern about flux vertical distribution from October to April, and the vertical flux difference of grazing intensities was mainly expressed in 0-50 cm layer. (3) Sand sediment particle ≤250 μm accounted for more than 85% of the total sediment, the sand sediment particle of ≤50 μm) size was significantly enriched, and the enrichment ratio increased with the increase of vertical height. The enrichment ratio of 125-250 μm particle and 50-125 μm particle decreased with the increase of vertical height, and the enrichment ratio of 125-250 μm particle was smaller than that of 50-125 μm particle (p< 0.05). Therefore grazing intensity had different influence on the sand flux in Stipa breviflora desert steppe, the greater the grazing intensity, the heavier the wind erosion was, and the effect of grazing intensity on grassland was enhanced by wind erosion.

    Responses of plant community biomass to nitrogen and phosphorus additions in natural and restored grasslands around Qinghai Lake Basin
    Chun-Li LI, Qi LI, Liang ZHAO, Xin-Quan ZHAO
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1015-1027.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0048
    Abstract ( 411 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (567KB) ( 609 )   Save
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    Aims Plant biomass reflects the primary productivity of community vegetation, and is the main resource of carbon input in the terrestrial ecosystem. It is usually limited by nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) availability in the soil. Alpine grassland around Qinghai Lake Basin has experienced extensive land-use changes due to the cultivation of native grassland and vegetation recovery on cropped land. In this experiment, two grassland types were chosen, natural alpine grassland (NG) and its adjacent restored grassland (RG), to determine the responses of plant community biomass to N and P additions with different land-use. Methods NH4NO3 and Ca(H2PO4)2·H2O were added in a completely randomized block design, with medium levels of 10 g N·m-2 and 5 g P·m-2. Soil NO3--N and available P contents, and the plant community biomass were measured in the two grasslands. Two-way ANOVA was used to determine the effects of nutrient additions on all measured indicators, and regression analysis was used to analyze the correlations between plant biomass and soil NO3--N and available P contents.Important findings Results showed: (1) N and P additions both increased grass biomass in the NG, and significantly elevated the total aboveground biomass, with the promoting effect of N addition higher than that of P addition; N addition significantly increased both grass and forb biomass in the RG, and markedly promoted the total aboveground biomass, while P addition had no effects on the functional groups and total aboveground biomass (p > 0.05). (2) N and P additions both had no effects on the belowground and total biomass in the NG, whereas N addition significantly increased the total biomass by 34% in the RG, which suggested that the effect of N limitation on the vegetation primary productivity was stronger in the RG at present stage. (3) The aboveground biomass in the NG increased with soil NO3--N content (p < 0.05), and the above- and below-ground as well as the total biomass were all positively correlated with soil NO3--N content in the RG (p < 0.01). These results indicated that the plant growth in alpine grassland around Qinghai Lake Basin was prone to N limitation, and the effect of P limitation changed with land-use. Soil available N might be the key limiting factor for vegetation restoration and reconstruction in the RG. The “Grain for Green” project (the land-use policy) and atmospheric N deposition are benefiting both plant growth and C accumulation in the alpine grassland ecosystem around Qinghai Lake Basin.

    Effects of experimental warming on plant reproductive phenology in Xizang alpine meadow
    Jun-Tao ZHU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1028-1036.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0068
    Abstract ( 435 )   HTML ( 3 )   PDF (549KB) ( 630 )   Save
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    Aims Climate warming strongly influences reproductive phenology of plants in alpine and arctic ecosystems. Here we focus on phenological shifts caused by warming in a typical alpine meadow on the Qinghai-Xizang Plateau. Our objective was to explore phenological responses of alpine plant species to experimental warming. Methods Passive warming was achieved using open-top chambers (OTCs). The treatments included control (C), and four levels of warming (T1, T2, T3, T4). We selected Kobresia pygmaea, Potentilla saundersiana, Potentilla cuneata, Stipa purpurea, Festuca coelestis and Youngia simulatrix as the focal species. Plant phenology was scored every 3-5 days in the growing season. The reproductive phenology phases of each species were estimated through fitting the phenological scores to the Richards function. Important findings Under soil water stress caused by warming, most plants in the alpine meadow advanced or delayed their reproductive events. As a result, warming significantly delayed phenological development of K. pygmaea. Warming significantly advanced reproductive phenology of P. saundersiana, S. purpurea and F. coelestis, but not of P. cuneata and Y. simulatrix. In addition, warming significantly shortened the average flowering duration of alpine plant species. The potentially warmer and drier growing seasons under climate change may shift the reproductive phenology of the alpine systems in similar pattern.

    Trade-offs between water yield and carbon sequestration for sub-alpine catchments in western Sichuan, China
    Peng-Sen SUN, Ning LIU, Shi-Rong LIU, Ge SUN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1037-1048.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0020
    Abstract ( 305 )   HTML ( 4 )   PDF (926KB) ( 562 )   Save
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    Aims There is increasing concern on the trade-off between carbon sequestration and water yield of forest ecosystems. Our objective was to explore the effects of vegetation composition on water and carbon trade-off in the sub-alpine watersheds of western Sichuan during 1982-2006.Methods The WaSSI-C, which is an eco-hydrological model with coupled water and carbon cycles, was employed to calculate the key components in water balance and carbon sequestration for the 22 sub-catchments in the upper reaches of Zagunao River. Spearman’s Rho trend analysis was used to examine the trends in runoff and net ecosystem productivity. Important findings Compared with either subalpine meadow or mixed forest dominated catchments, the conifer-dominated catchments had much higher water loss due to high evapotranspiration, and the loss was not offset by its higher soil water infiltration during the growing season. The change in soil water storage for subalpine meadow, mixed forest and coniferous forest are -44 mm, -18 mm and -5 mm, respectively, which indicated significant decline in soil water storage and thus water yield particularly in alpine meadow catchments. Significant negative relationship was found between runoff and net ecosystem productivity, the alpine meadow as the dominant vegetation type showed high water yield and low carbon sequestration, and the conifer-dominant and mixed forest vegetation showed low water yield and high carbon sequestration, moreover, the higher the forest coverage, the lower the water yield. Upward trends in net ecosystem productivity were observed in the three vegetation types during the study period and the alpine meadow type was significant.

    Greenhouse gas fluxes of typical northern subtropical forest soils: Impacts of land use change and reduced precipitation
    Hua JU, Guo-Zhen SHEN, Ming-Zhe MA, Jie-Lin GE, Wen-Ting XU, Chang-Ming ZHAO, Qiu- Liang ZHANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1049-1063.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0069
    Abstract ( 349 )   HTML ( 6 )   PDF (886KB) ( 776 )   Save
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    Aims It is important to study the effects of land use change and reduced precipitation on greenhouse gas fluxes (CO2, CH4 and N2O) of forest soils. Methods The fluxes of CO2, CH4 and N2O and their responses to environmental factors of primary forest soil, secondary forest soil and artificial forest soil under a reduced precipitation regime were explored using the static chamber and gas chromatography methods during the period from January to December in 2014. Important findings Results indicate that CH4 uptake of primary forest soil ((-44.43 ± 8.73) μg C·m-2·h-1) was significantly higher than that of the secondary forest soil ((-21.64 ± 4.86) μg C·m-2·h-1) and the artificial forest soil ((-10.52 ± 2.11) μg C·m-2·h-1). CH4 uptake of the secondary forest soil ((-21.64 ± 4.86) μg C·m-2·h-1) was significantly higher than that of the artificial forest ((-10.52 ± 2.11) μg C·m-2·h-1). CO2 emissions of the artificial forest soil ((106.53 ± 19.33) μg C·m-2·h-1) were significantly higher than that of the primary forest soil ((49.50 ± 8.16) μg C·m-2·h-1) and the secondary forest soil ((63.50 ± 5.35) μg C·m-2·h-1) (p < 0.01). N2O emissions of the secondary forest soil ((1.91 ± 1.22) μg N·m-2·h-1) were higher than that of the primary forest soil ((1.40 ± 0.28) μg N·m-2·h-1) and the artificial forest soil ((1.01 ± 0.86) μg N·m-2·h-1). Reduced precipitation (-50%) had a significant inhibitory effect on CH4 uptake of the artificial forest soil, while it enhanced CO2 emissions of the primary forest soil and the secondary forest soil. Reduced precipitation had a significant inhibitory effect on CO2 emissions of the artificial forest soil and N2O emissions of the secondary forest (p < 0.01). Reduced precipitation promotes N2O emissions of the primary forest soil and the artificial forest soil. CH4 uptake of the primary forest and the secondary forest soil increased significantly with the increase of soil temperature under natural and reduced precipitation. CO2 and N2O emission fluxes of the primary forest soil, secondary forest soil and artificial forest soil were positively correlated with soil temperature (p < 0.05). Soil moisture inhibited CH4 uptake of the secondary forest soil and the artificial forest soil (p < 0.05). CO2 emissions of the primary forest soil were significantly positively correlated with soil moisture (p < 0.05). N2O emissions of primary forest soil and secondary forest soil were significantly correlated with the nitrate nitrogen content (p < 0.05). It was implied that reduced precipitation and land use change would have significant effects on greenhouse gas emissions of subtropical forest soils.

    Seasonal dynamics of active soil organic carbon in four subtropical forests in Southern China
    Xiang GU, Shi-Ji ZHANG, Wen-Hua XIANG, Lei-Da LI, Zhao-Dan LIU, Wei-Jun SUN, Xi FANG
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1064-1076.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0412
    Abstract ( 417 )   HTML ( 5 )   PDF (531KB) ( 565 )   Save
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    Aims The objective of this paper was to quantify the seasonal variation of active soil organic carbon in the subtropical forests for better understanding of the underline mechanisms in controlling soil organic carbon storage and dynamics in natural and restored forests in the region. Methods The study was conducted in a one-hectare permanent plot at Dashanchong Forest Park in Changsha County, Hunan Province, China. Four types of subtropical forests were selected as our study sites: (1) Cunninghamia lanceolata plantation, (2) Pinus massoniana-Lithocarpus glaber mixed forest, (3) Choerospondias axillaries deciduous broad-leaved forest, and (4) L. glaber-Cyclobalanopsis glauca evergreen broad-leaved forest. The soil samples were taken from 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm depths within each of the forests from December 2011 to September 2012. Soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC), mineralized organic carbon (MOC), readily oxidized carbon (ROC), and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) were analyzed for their seasonal changes. Important findings There existed a considerable seasonal variations of soil MBC, MOC, ROC, DOC among the forests, with a similar patterns of active organic carbon fraction. Soil MBC, MOC and ROC were significantly higher in the summer and the autumn than those in the spring and winter, while soil DOC was higher in the spring, summer and winter than that in the autumn. The seasonal variations of different active organic carbon fractions appeared different within the same forest type. Significantly-positive correlations were found between soil MBC, MOC, ROC, DOC and soil moisture content, soil organic carbon (SOC), total N, hydrolysis N, total P (except for MBC, MOC and ROC in Cunninghamia lanceolata plantation), available P, but not between soil MBC, MOC, ROC, DOC concentrations and soil pH, total K and available K. The results indicated that the differences of exogenous carbon devotion, physicochemical properties were responsible for the significant differences of soil active organic carbon, and the growth rhythm of tree species, soil moisture content, the availability of nutrient (SOC, N and P), and the sources of soil active organic carbon fractions made a major contribution to seasonal variations of soil active organic carbon. Soil MBC, MOC, ROC, and DOC could be used as sensitivity indexes to assess the dynamics of soil C, N and P.

    Research Articles
    Relationship between photochemical reflectance index with multi-angle hyper-spectrum and light use efficiency in urban green-land ecosystems
    Zhi-Qing YANG, Bao-Zhang CHEN, Tian-Shan ZHA, Xin JIA
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1077-1089.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2015.0451
    Abstract ( 392 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (919KB) ( 847 )   Save
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    Aims Light-use efficiency (LUE) is one of critical parameters in the terrestrial ecosystem production studies. Accurate determination of LUE is very important for LUE models to simulate gross primary productivity (GPP) at regional and global scales. We used eddy covariance technique measurement and tower-based, multi-angular spectro-radiometer observations in autumn 2012 to explore the relationship between bidirectional reflectance distribution function (BRDF) corrected photochemical reflectance index (PRI) and LUE in different phenology and environment conditions in urban green-land ecosystems. Methods Using the eddy covariance technique, we estimated the temporal changes in GPP during the autumn 2012 over Beijing Olympic Forest Park. LUE was calculated as the ratio of GPP to the difference between incoming photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and PAR reflected from the canopy. Daily PRI values were averaged from the BRDF using semi-empirical kernel driven models. The absolute greenness index (2G_RB) was made by webcam at a constant view zenith and view azimuth angle at solar noon. The logistic function was used to fit the time series of the greenness index. The onset of phonological stages was defined as the point when the curvature reached its maximum value. Important findings Webcamera-observed greenness index (2G_RB) showed a decreasing trend. There was a highly significant relationship between 2G_RB and air temperature (R2 = 0.60, p < 0.001). This demonstrates that air temperature is the main driving factor to determine the phenology. PRI estimated from multi-angle hyper-spectrum can estimate LUE in urban green-land ecosystems in vigorous photosynthetic period. The correlation was the strongest (R2 = 0.70, p < 0.001) in the peak photosynthetic period. PRI relates better to LUE under high temperature (>15 °C) with high vapour pressure deficit (VPD) (>700 Pa) and high PAR (>300 μmol·m-2·s-1). The LUE was up-scaled to landscape/regional scales based on these relationships and phenology. It can also be used for the estimation of GPP of urban green-land with high accuracy.

    High-level phenotypic variations in populations of Armeniaca sibirica in Nei Mongol, China
    Ming-Yu YIN, Zhong-Mao JIANG, Xu-Chun ZHU, Wen-Quan BAO, Han ZHAO, Tana WUYUN
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1090-1099.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0172
    Abstract ( 297 )   HTML ( 1 )   PDF (359KB) ( 706 )   Save
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    Aims Our objectives were to determine the variations in phenotypic traits of Armeniaca sibirica populations and their spatial patterns. Methods We used nested variation, coefficient of variation, multi-comparison, correlation analysis and principal component analysis to analyze the 23 phenotypic traits for 130 individuals in 13 populations of A. sibirica. Important findings The results showed that there were significant differences in phenotypic variations among and within populations. The variation was greater among populations (47.15%) than within population (16.43%). The mean phenotypic differentiation coefficient was 73.03% among populations, indicating the variance among populations being the main source of the phenotypic variation. The average variation coefficient of 23 traits ranged from 7.01% to 27.23%, with an average of 14.28%. The variation coefficient of nutlet was highest (15.67%), and the variation coefficient of fruit was smallest (12.11%). The phenotypic diversity is highest in Wanjiagou Tumotezuoqi and smallest in Horqin, Right Front Banner Chaersen. Longitude, mean annual precipitation and sunshine duration were significantly correlated with major traits of phenotypic. The 13 populations could be divided into four groups according to the principal component analysis. Leaf traits of Wula Mountain and nutlet traits of Archorchin Banner were significantly correlated with ecological and geographic factors.

    Constraint line methods and the applications in ecology
    Rui-Fang HAO, De-Yong YU, Jian-Guo WU, Qin-Feng GUO, Yu-Peng LIU
    Chin J Plan Ecolo. 2016, 40 (10):  1100-1109.  doi:10.17521/cjpe.2016.0152
    Abstract ( 408 )   HTML ( 2 )   PDF (430KB) ( 804 )   Save
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    With increasing data availability in the big data era, many traditional statistical analyses based on the mean or median are insufficient or inappropriate to elucidate the complex patterns of variation. This is particularly the case when multiple factors are involved and the bivariate scatter occurs as scatter clouds. In such circumstances, constraint line (or envelope) method could be an alternative and effective tool to extract the data boundaries, thus improves our understanding of the complex relationships between limiting factor and response factor. Here, we synthesize the major findings and achievements in the field of applying the constraint line method in ecology. Specifically, we first describe the history and development of the constraint line method. We then discuss the techniques to establish the constraint lines with examples, and discuss the applications and implications of the constraint lines in species distribution, population performance, and optimization problem. We suggest simultaneously application of both constraint lines and regression techniques to the same datasets to achieve a comprehensive understanding of ecological process and underlying mechanisms. Such combined methods should be used with special attention to the role of spatial heterogeneity and scale dependency. We also discuss in detail the potential applicability of the constraint line method in studying the linkages between ecosystem services, and land system design.

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